Rescue after 'bloody great wave'

AFTERMATH:  Mick Warren and his grandson Lewis Joseph, 9, climb over debris left by yesterday’s flood at their Murphy St property.
AFTERMATH: Mick Warren and his grandson Lewis Joseph, 9, climb over debris left by yesterday’s flood at their Murphy St property.

Floodwaters came "like a tidal wave" in a Nelson street, leaving a resident yelling for help as his disabled son was unable to move from their flooded home.

Mick Warren and his tetraplegic son Che live in Murphy St, one of the hardest hit by the floods after yesterday's deluge.

Che lives in a self-contained unit at the back of the property, specially adapted to suit his needs, and accessible for his wheelchair.

Mick said they had been flooded before, but never as bad as yesterday.

"We were looking outside thinking it was getting higher and higher, and the next thing it just came over the top of the fence . . . It was just like a bloody great wave."

With water up to the windowsills on his house, Mick knew he had to move Che to make sure he was up high enough if the water levels rose inside his flat.

"I had to lift him, out of his bed, into his wheelchair, push the wheelchair over to the table and lift him out of his wheelchair and sit him on the table until the fire brigade came."

The Fire Service heard them calling for help as they went past, and came down through the fence at the back of the property, using an ambulance stretcher to rescue the pair.

They spent the night at Che's mother's house, and would stay there again tonight while they waited for an assessment of how fast their homes could be cleaned up, Mick said.

Mick did not know who was responsible for making sure the place got cleaned up, as the flooding had never been that bad before.

The family would need to find alternative accommodation for Che, as his mother's house was not set up for his needs.

Last time his unit flooded, he was able to move into Mick's.

But that was not an option now, as his father's house, which escaped water damage in the big rains at the end of 2011, was badly affected by yesterday's rainfall.

"It's gone all through the bedrooms, and the carpet, and the toilet and it's all come up through the sink."

The carpet was sodden underfoot and would have to be ripped up and replaced, and they had not been able to access the garage, where Mick kept his motorbikes.

"But at least I'm insured, so this is what you pay your insurance premiums for."

Everyone being safe was the main thing, Mick said.

That, happily, included their cat, who turned up to welcome them home after a damp night spent alone at the house.

She looked like she had missed them, and would definitely be looking for a feed, Mick said.

The Nelson Mail